Update 2/27/10: Shogun has now turned into Tsunami, which serves a smattering of different Asian cuisines. I'm always skeptical about that, but I haven't gone yet. So we'll see...
In my quest for comfort food in Lancaster, I have come across some very good sushi at Shogun Restaurant on Route 462, just west of Lancaster City.
Sushi is a bit of a gamble anywhere that doesn't have an ocean border. That means I don't trust that I would get good sushi in at least 31 states. And if you consider that some of those ocean states have little Asian populations, well, that takes away most of the southeastern region. Yet, I try to find a good source for this delicate and delicious cuisine wherever I happen to be living at the time because I LOVE it. I could live on it. I could eat it every day. I think people who don't eat it are crazy for passing up on such a culinary experience.
Whenever I go to a sushi restaurant, my litmus tests are the Ika Nigiri (squid sushi) and the Spicy Tuna Roll. If a sushi joint can't get these right, I'm afraid to eat anything else. The Ika Nigiri will give me an indication of freshness. Fresh squid has a great suppleness and flavor to it. It shouldn't be chewy like rubber. If you go from looking like a graceful movie star, balancing the piece of sushi ever-so-lithely on your chopsticks as you bring it to your ever-waiting lips, to ripping away at the squid with your fingers after the rice has fallen all over your plate because your teeth can't get the job done, it's not good squid. Now, squid gets rubbery fast. So it's a matter of when they froze it after the catch. In actuality, all sushi is frozen because that's how it becomes "sushi-grade." It needs to be frozen to the point that any parasites are destroyed. So don't be afraid of the freeze.
The Spicy Tuna Roll will give me an indication on whether the place even knows what they're doing. It's a basic staple at sushi places, and there's latitude on how a chef can prepare it, but all the sushi elements should be absolutely balanced, with a fresh taste that hits you with a little heat. It shouldn't be slathered with mayonnaise! Your primary flavor should not be a hit of Hellman's!!
Shogun does their sushi well. The squid is some of the most delicious I've had since eating freshly caught squid with my host uncle as a foreign exchange student to Japan in high school. The Spicy Tuna Roll is deliciously balanced. The Ebi Tempura roll is dynamite! I wasn't crazy about the Naturo Roll, which is spicy tuna wrapped in cucumber instead of rice and nori (seaweed). I applaud the creativity, but stick with the basic one.
In the realm of appetizers, I also always get the Agedashi Tofu. It's tofu cubes that are delicately fried, then served in a soy broth with bonita flakes (shaved dry fish) sprinkled on top. Again, balance is key. It's a delicate dish, so it can't be overfried, or have some crazy thick batter surrounding the soft tofu squares. The broth should be incredibly flavorful and shouldn't be too sweet or salty. They do this very well, too. This time around, I also ordered some Gyoza (fried dumplings). Take a pass on that. If you really want some dumplings, come to my house.